After a career of competing above his natural weight class, Tom DeBlass scientifically found a home in the middleweight division.
DeBlass (Twitter: @TomDeBlass) compiled a record of 7-0 before making his first appearance in the Octagon. The New Jersey native held the Ring of Combat light heavyweight and heavyweight titles when he was called upon to fight Cyrille Diabate at “UFC on Fuel TV 2: Gustafsson vs. Silva” last April in Sweden. DeBlass had just over a week to cut weight, travel and prepare for Diabate. Though, he gave a gutsy performance on such limited notice, DeBlass lost the match via majority decision.
DeBlass was scheduled to return to the cage and square off against Nick Penner on July 11 at ”UFC on Fuel TV: Munoz vs. Weidman.” The bout eventually was cancelled due to Penner suffering an injury too close to fight night to find a replacement for DeBlass.
“It worked out because I ended up going to 185 (pounds) anyway,” DeBlass told MMADiehards.com. “I know if I would’ve won that fight I would’ve stayed at 205 (pounds), and I think 185 (pounds) is much better suited for me. The guys are my size now. When I was a light heavyweight, middleweights were walking around bigger than me. I was always competing against guys that were much bigger than me, so it’s a world of difference.”
DeBlass’ second opportunity to showcase his skills in the UFC will be against Riki Fukuda on Nov. 10 at “UFC on Fuel TV 6: Franklin vs. Le” at Cotai Arena in Cotai, China. DeBlass said he is looking forward to fighting Fukuda because the Japanese mixed martial artist is a good wrestler and likes to brawl, but he is aware “Killer Bee” is going to be a strong challenge as well.
DeBlass’s training ran its usual course preparing for Fukuda. He trained with Rafael Natal, Gregor Gracie, Chris Liguori, Frankie Edgar, plus other world class athletes between Ricardo Almeida’s gym and Renzo Gracie’s gym.
One change made was his diet in order to make the middleweight mark, but to DeBlass that is just a matter of science.
“I worked with a nutritionist named George Lockhart,” DeBlass said. “It was just cleaning up the diet and doing things the right way, it wasn’t so bad. In the beginning of my career I made cuts from 220 (pounds) to 205 (pounds), but then I got lighter as fights went on. Everything is scientific; just have to do it the proper way. I have no doubt I will make the weight with no problems.”